A fly got caught in Vice President Mike Pence’s hair during the vice presidential debate on Wednesday night, October 7. The fly remained there for several minutes and immediately caught the eye of thousands, if not millions, of viewers at home. It didn’t take long for the fly to gain a sort of celebrity presence on social media.
The fly stayed on Pence’s head for several minutes and flew away at approximately 10:20 p.m. Pence did not indicate any awareness of the fly at any point. Senator Kamala Harris didn’t give any indication that she saw the fly, either.
There were countless hot takes on the arrival of Pence’s little friend. One came from Jennifer Wright, a historian and author, who tweeted, “So, a fun art history fact! Flies are used to represent rot, wasting away, decay, death, melancholia. A fly hovering over a church official or nobleman indicates disfavor with the king or corruption and dereliction of duty.”
Actress Patricia Arquette tweeted a much simpler theory: “He’s so full of s*** he’s gathering flies.”
Here’s what you need to know:
WATCH: A Fly Lands in Mike Pence’s Hair During the Debate & Stays There for Several Minutes
After the fly landed on his head, Pence continued talking and gave no indication that he felt the bug in his hair. The fly appeared to be still for the most part, though the camera cut away repeatedly.
Immediately, the critiques and jokes came rolling in. Comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted, “EWWWWWWWWW that fly has Mike Pence on his stomach. #VPDebate”
Tim Alberta, a chief correspondent for Politico, tweeted, “whoever creates the Mike Pence’s Fly account first wins this debate”
Comedian Tim Young tweeted, “I’m not saying Mike Pence is killing it tonight… but there’s an actual dead fly stuck in his hair.”
“Mike Pence is talking so much s*** that a fly landed on his head and stayed there,” CNN Commentator Keith Boykin tweeted.
Pence’s ‘Red Eye’ Also Caught Attention During the Debate
The fly on Pence’s head wasn’t the only thing that drew attention to the vice president’s physical appearance. Earlier in the evening, viewers took to Twitter to speculate on what was happening with Pence’s left eye, which appeared red from certain angles.
Jennifer Hayden, trending news manager at Daily Kos, tweeted at the end of the evening, “Kamala Harris brought heat and the truth. Mike Pence brought pink eye and a fly.”
Others wondered if Pence’s red eye was a coronavirus symptom. Though Pence has recently tested negative for COVID-19, his proximity to the White House superspreader event for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has fueled ongoing speculation about his test results.
While the CDC has not added conjunctivitis (pink eye) to its list of symptoms, it indicates the “list does not include all possible symptoms.” One study has suggested that pink and/or enflamed eyes can be a symptom of coronavirus. HealthDay News reported in April that in a study of 38 coronavirus patients, researchers found that a dozen also had pink eye. According to the study, which was published in JAMA Ophthalmology, “ocular abnormalities … frequently occurred in patients with more severe COVID-19.”
Pence has not given a statement about his red eyes during the debate, nor about the fly that landed on his head.